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ydog M4 - Toxic Food - daniel-brunsteiner (1440x316)
Mydog M4 - Toxic Food - daniel-brunsteiner (518x280)

Foods That Are Toxic for Dogs

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It’s natural to want to treat your furry friend to a tasty bite from time to time, especially when they’re looking at you with their wide, pleading puppy dog eyes. But sadly, many human foods aren’t good for your pup, and can lead to severe health complications and even death if ingested. So, when you’re thinking of giving your pooch the odd food scrap, make sure you’re not giving them anything that could make them unwell. In many cases, it’s kinder to say no and give them a dog treat instead.


Why are some foods toxic for dogs?

The reason some foods are toxic for dogs and not humans is that a dog's digestive system and metabolism is different from a human. For example, they can’t digest the same amount of fat as we can. Another factor to consider is that humans have developed a tolerance for many foods through evolution, some of which may have once made us ill too. Dogs haven’t had the opportunity to build a tolerance for foods in the same way, as their diets are often controlled by humans.


Toxic foods

It’s not always obvious what foods are and aren’t safe for your pooch. For example, it’s fair to assume that fruit and vegetables are safe because they’re natural, but that’s not always the case. Foods that are toxic can be surprising, so it’s important to be aware of what dogs can and can’t eat before dishing out any human food scraps.


Grapes, raisins and currants

It’s unclear what exactly it is about grapes and their dried forms that make them so poisonous for dogs, but sometimes just a small amount can cause kidney failure. One of the first signs of grape poisoning is vomiting, which is followed by lethargy and lack of appetite.


Onions and garlic

Onions, garlic, leeks, chives and shallots are all part of the allium food group, which can cause serious medical problems for dogs. These are important ones to watch out for, as they feature in so many human recipes and can be easily missed. Eating them can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, causing anaemia, with symptoms including abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.


Chocolate, coffee and caffeine

Chocolate is so delicious you might be tempted to let your doggo have a little taste, but you shouldn’t. Found in the cacao seeds of chocolate, coffee and caffeine are substances called methylxanthines, which are poisonous for dogs. These substances can cause kidney failure, with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, and restlessness.


Macadamia nuts

It’s not known why macadamia nuts are more dangerous for dogs than other nuts, but they can cause nasty symptoms including vomiting, fever, lethargy and even paralysis. Nuts can also be a choking hazard for dogs, so nuts like de-shelled plain peanuts are ok for dogs to eat, but only in moderation, as they are high in fat.



Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that can trigger insulin release, which causes a dog’s blood sugar to drop and can lead to liver failure. It’s found in a lot of human food, including some low fat and sugar free peanut butters, so always check the label if you’re giving your dog any. If your dog isn’t overweight and doesn’t suffer from kidney trouble, most normal peanut butters are safe in moderation, but an unsalted or homemade peanut butter (without artificial sweetener) is your best option.



Under no circumstances should your dog be given any alcohol, as it can have a significant impact on their health. Even in small doses, it can lead to sickness and diarrhoea and long term central nervous system damage.


Toxic food for dogs


Other foods to avoid

Even if a certain food isn’t strictly toxic for dogs, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily suitable for dogs to eat. Us humans like to add seasoning, sugar and flavouring to our dishes, which can be bad for your pet’s health and upset their stomach.



Salt is an essential part of your dog’s diet, but too much of it can be dangerous, so you shouldn’t let your dog have salty foods like crisps or salted nuts, and you shouldn’t let them drink from the sea. Signs of consuming too much salt include vomiting, diarrhoea, and loss of appetite.



Small amounts won’t harm them, but eating lots of sugary foods over a period of time can cause tummy upset and weight gain which can increase the risk of diabetes.


Fatty foods

Fatty foods are often the most appealing to our furry companions. We’re talking pizza, bacon, meat trimmings, you name it, they want it. But too much fatty food can cause pancreatitis, which will need prompt medical treatment to avoid severe illness. Signs to look out for include vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, and bloating. Dogs should get enough fat from a complete and balanced dog food like the My Dog range, so additional fatty table scraps should be kept to a minimum.


Milk and dairy products

Many dogs are lactose intolerant, meaning they have difficulty digesting milk. So, while sharing your ice cream with your doggo on a hot day may be well intentioned, it could give them an upset stomach. This said, if your pooch doesn’t show any signs of being intolerant to dairy, small cubes of cheddar cheese or cheese in a squeezy tube can be given in moderation as an occasional treat or for training.



What should I do if my dog eats toxic food?

Even despite our best efforts, sometimes cheeky dogs get their paws on foods they shouldn’t. So, if your dog ever eats anything toxic or shows signs that indicate they may have, contact your vet straight away. If you know, tell your vet what they have eaten, how much of it they ate and any symptoms you’ve spotted. Even small amounts of some toxic foods can be fatal, so quick action is crucial. Sadly, not all human treats are safe choices for our beloved doggos, so to keep them as happy and healthy as can be, it’s really important that you watch what they eat. For more tips on dog nutrition and caring for your four-legged companion, take a look at our blog.


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